Pennsylvania launches youth fishing initiative

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Pennsylvania is one of two states launching a comprehensive youth fishing program that will provide more than just one-time fishing experiences for the whole family.

Pennsylvania is one of two states launching a comprehensive youth fishing program that will provide more than just one-time fishing experiences for the whole family.

Pennsylvania is starting to roll out a pilot program with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation designed to bring Take Me Fishing Catch Centers to the state.

The state is among only two, the other being Texas, to launch the program, and the program is getting noticed by at least one mainstream news outlet.

The Morning Call published a report on Monday talking about the new program that seeks to bring more consistency to youth fishing, RBFF president Frank Peterson told Trade Only Today.

“From a youth standpoint, everyone understands the importance of getting youth engaged,” Peterson said. “A lot of times, that’s defined as one-day fishing events. which our research tells us, is not enough to get a child really hooked. It takes three or four times of having success to really catch the bug, so we’re helping the states shift from these one-day event scenarios to multiple events for kids and families.”

Over the past five or six years, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has focused extensively on developing programs and initiatives to introduce and keep youth interested in angling, with the most obvious example being the mentored youth days, The Morning Call wrote.

Most of those one-day events were “drop-and-drive” type of occurrences, Peterson said, which the RBFF is trying to help states like Pennsylvania move away from.

“The family has got to be involved,” Peterson said. “If you teach a child with the parent, it’s more likely to happen outside of the event. All of the grant dollars we give out are for family-focused activities.”

Pennsylvania has added a youth and women’s program coordinator to the staff, something the RBFF has been working hard on with states

Pennsylvania is one of the few states that has attempted to launch a fishing-related mentored youth program on a large scale in an effort to recruit and retain anglers, according to Steve Kralik, director of outreach, education and marketing for the PFBC.

It will also unveil the First Catch Center, a traveling education center on wheels that will focus on more urban areas to attract new and diverse audiences.

The centers, essentially a van and a boat for on-the-water-experiences, will travel to events and programs throughout Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.

The PFBC and Texas-based Fishing’s Future are the only organizations in the country taking part in the program.

“We’re trying to get more in tune with the customers,” Kralik told the newspaper. “We’re trying to do what we can, even though we’re a governmental entity, to use the business principles that we think could lead to increased license sales and increased participation.”

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